Bhattal asks Akalis to support n-deal in national interest

July 10th, 2008 - 10:01 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

Chandigarh, July 10 (IANS) Accusing the Akali Dal of siding with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to survive in power in Punjab, state Congress chief Rajinder Kaur Bhattal asked it to support the India-US nuclear deal in “national interest”. Chief of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee Rajinder Kaur Bhattal said the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) government of Punjab was joining the BJP on the nuclear deal issue.

“The Akali Dal is scared of the BJP. If they do not side with the BJP on the issue of nuclear deal, they will loose their support in Punjab,” Bhattal told mediapersons here Thursday.

In Punjab, the Akali Dal, with 44 legislators, leads a coalition government with the BJP that has 19 legislators.

“The Akali Dal should change its stance and go with the nuclear deal that is in larger national interest,” said Bhattal.

After the Left parties withdrew their support to the central government, the latter has decided to seek a trust vote in the Lok Sabha to prove its majority before pushing the nuclear deal further.

Out of the 13 Lok Sabha MPs from Punjab, Akali Dal has eight, the BJP three while the Congress the only two MPs.

Bhattal said Punjab currently generates only half its energy needs and the civil nuclear energy deal will also solve the problem of power shortage in the region.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal reiterated his Akali Dal’s support to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Badal told reporters in Ludhiana that a party meeting will be held July 15 after Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal returns from abroad. He said a formal decision will be taken on the nuclear deal issue in the meeting and will be immediately conveyed to NDA.

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